Former President Donald Trump may want to start carrying his checkbook. On Wednesday, he was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for violating a partial gag order imposed by New York Judge Arthur Engoron in the civil trial stemming from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against him and the Trump Organization.
On Friday, Engoron fined Trump $5,000, because a copy of a post that first appeared on Trump’s Truth Social platform remained on the former president’s campaign website. The post suggested that Engoron’s law clerk had a past relationship with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y), while it also contained a photo of the two posing together. Trump commented that because of the relationship, the case against him “should be dismissed immediately.”
That post resulted in Engoron imposing the partial gag order.
Fine Time Take II
Following a break on Wednesday, Engoron asked the former president to take the stand during his civil trial to discuss statements Trump made to the press earlier in the day. Trump told reporters, “This judge is a very partisan judge, with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside of him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”
Engoron asked Trump who he was referring to, and the former president responded “You and Cohen” – as in Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who took the stand and testified against him on Tuesday. However, the judge pressed the matter and asked if Trump was sure he was referring to his clerk.
Engoron emphasized that his principal clerk was the person “very close to me,” and ruled that Trump must have been referring to her. “The idea that that statement would refer to the witness; that doesn’t make sense to me,” Engoron said. “Don’t do it again, or it will be worse.”
Trump was then fined $10,000, which the judge said was “on the liberal side.”
Engoron’s law clerk normally sits next to him and has been the subject of complaints from Trump’s team, including earlier Wednesday.
Trump “Stormed Out” of Court
The former president was described as “angry-looking” and it was reported that he “stormed out of the courtroom” about 45 minutes later, after the judge denied a motion from his lawyers on a separate legal issue.
Trump’s lawyer Cliff Robert seized on Cohen’s testimony that Trump never explicitly instructed him to inflate his financial statements. Robert then asked the judge for a directed verdict dismissing the New York AG’s claims about those financial statements, which Engoron refused.
The abrupt departure appeared to catch even his attorneys by surprise and caused gasps throughout the courtroom, NBC News reported.
“The witness just admitted that we won the trial and the judge should end this trial immediately,” Trump told reporters after he left the courtroom.
That of course isn’t likely to help.
Before the trial’s Oct. 2 start, Judge Engoron had already found that the former president fraudulently inflated his net worth, and ordered that companies that control crown jewels of his real estate portfolio, including Trump Tower in Manhattan, be dissolved.
That ruling is currently on hold while Trump appeals.
The trial primarily concerns damages that Trump will be forced to pay. AG James has sought at least $250 million in fines, a permanent ban against Trump and his adult sons Eric and Donald Jr. from running businesses in New York, and a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organization.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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